Building an Apple Grinder-2

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  • Building an apple grinder

    Based on the experience with my previous applegrinder, I already knew this one would work.Because I wanted to make a detailed set of plansavailable for this one, I carefully designed the wholething in CAD before I cut any wood.

    I printed out a 1:1 side view of the apple grinder using my BigPrint program.

    I used a 1:1 template because I hadn't yet produced dimensioned drawings for the plans. So I just worked from the 1:1template in the workshop.
  • I cut up a thick board of white oak for the drum.White oak is probably an ideal material. Winebarrels are always made of white oak, so I know itstands up well to fruit juices. Realistically though,most hardwoods should do.

    Here I'm marking a circle on the end for cutting outthe approximate shape on the bandsaw.

    I put the drum on its end on the bandsaw and cut itout. The drum is just under 15 cm (6") long, so aregular 14" bandsaw should have just barely enoughcutting capacity.

  • I had what seemed like a clever idea for finalshaping the drum on the table saw. Basically, I spunit over the running saw blade. The apple grinderframe is clamped (not firmly enough) to my table sawsled. You can also see the motor and gearing that Iwas initially going to use for the grinder on the left.


    Shaping went well, but slowly, until disaster struck.The blade caught the drum and threw everythingforward, putting a gouge in the drum. I could haveavoided this if I had clamped it to the sled better. ButI figured if I had any accident with this method, it'snot something I should encourage anybody else totry. So if you build an apple grinder, my advice is:Don't try this on the table saw!

    I was startled but unharmed, but I had to make a newdrum.

    So for the second drum, I went back to the method Iused for my first apple grinder, although with thingsfixed a little better for added safety.

    The shaft passes through two blocks that hold it atthe right height above the jointer. I put a sort of colletaround the shaft on either side of these two blocks tokeep them at about the same position on the shaft.

    I can pass the drum over the jointer to cut it down tothe right diameter. Once I cut down to the rightdiameter on one spot, it's a matter of returning the
  • diameter on one spot, it's a matter of returning thedrum to the start position, rotating it left until the drumhits the table, and taking another pass. It takes aboutfifty passes to round out the drum. You can also usethis technique to make dowels and conical spindles.

    Next I wrapped a printout of the hole pattern aroundthe drum and transferred the locations by punchingthrough each screw position with an awl. I includedthe hole pattern in the apple grinder plans

    Drilling pilot holes for the screws. The piece of papertaped to the end of the drum helped set up theposition of the vise so all the holes would go in at theright angle. I'm only using the vise for support, notactually clamping the block.

    I messed up a little in that I put the angle template onthe wrong end of the drum. The screw pattern isdesigned to help nudge the apples towards themiddle. Having drilled the holes at the oppositeangle, I now have to spin it in the opposite direction,so that effect is reversed. I marked which side of thedrum that the angle template goes on in the screwhole pattern in the plans.

    The screws are put in to stick out just a little bit. Thisis actually quite enough for grinding the apples. Theshallower the screws are in, the finer the grinder willpulp the apples, and the more juice the apples yield.
  • I made some bearing blocks that split apart to allowthe drum to be removed from the bottom. It'simportant to take everything apart for cleaning afterusing the grinder.

    The wooden bearings need to be well oiled. Initially,a lot of oil will be absorbed into the wood.

    Grinder box and apple chute

    The drum with screws in it and the box enclosing it together form the core of the apple grinder.

    The box needs to be fairly sturdy and fit closely around the grinder drum.

  • I cut a slot from the shaft holes towards the bottom ofthe box so that the box can easily be lifted off theshaft for cleanup.

  • Screwing the box together with stainless steelscrews. I'm using the same screws that I used in thegrinder drum.

    Next I made the apple chute. I used rabbet joints forpart of this box, but in retrospect, that was overkill.The chute is not subject to significant forces, so justglued and nailed butt joints would have beenenough.

    The chute assembled. The bottom end of this boxmay get a little bit wet. Actually, if your drum spinstoo fast, it will throw apple mash all over and muchmore of it may get wet. If you motorize the grinder,running the drum at 200 RPM or less is best.

  • The long end of the chute is supported by a woodenblock. The wooden block has hooks on either end(see arrow) to help keep the chute aligned. Thereare also two tabs attached to the bottom of the chuteto align it with the grinding box.

    The chute isn't fastened down at all - these tabs, andgravity is all it takes to hold it in place.

    Ready for action. In this photo, I have a hand crankon the grinder. The hand crank worked surprisinglywell, but you can also motorize it
  • The frame

    The frame of the apple grinder consists of just two2x4's with some boards screwed across.

    The image at left shows the frame upside-down. Iscrewed two narrow boards on either end with a gapbetween them to allow the grinder to be hooked overa pair of sawhorses.

    The frame has two cutouts from the bottom wherethe shaft passes through. Wooden bearing blocksare screwed to the outside of the frame.

    The idea is to keep the bearing blocks relatively farfrom the grinding action. The frame is open aroundthe shaft to make it easier to remove the shaft, andto prevent that area from getting filled with applepulp.

    The plunger is attached to the grinder with a lever. This always keeps the plunger close at hand and reduces the temptationto push the apples down by hand.

    The lever also prevents the plunger from getting pushed down so far as to contact the drum.

    A small block of wood is screwed to the bottom of the plunge lever to limit how far the plunger can angle down when the leveris lifted. This ensures the plunger enters the chute instead of bumping against it when the lever is lowered.

    And a third advantage of the lever is that it's easier

  • And a third advantage of the lever is that it's easierto operate the plunger while cranking the grinder.

    For added safety, one could add a stop thatprevents the lever from moving up far enough to liftthe plunger completely out of the grinder.

    If you have a lot of apples to grind, you probably wantto motorize the grinder

    The amount of juice that apples yield is largely afunction of how well they are ground. I didn't have anapple press handy when I tested this grinder, so I putthe grounds in a dish cloth and wrung it out by hand.It was amazing to see the juice just squirt out of thatdish cloth when I squeezed it!

    I squeezed most of the juice out, whereas when I hadexperimented earlier at pressing without grinding, Ihad very poor juice yield.
  • Nathan Orkon's apple


    Nathan sent me a video ofan apple grinder he builtbased on my plans but up-
  • based on my plans but up-scaled a little. I really likethis video!

    See also:

    Motorizing the apple grinderAttempting to pressapples without grinding

    Apple grinder plans Making apple ciderat my parents's place

    More about making apple cider


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